Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall migration banding

Each fall, US Fish and Wildlife Service in Tok does fall migration bird banding for a month. It's an impressive set up. Biologists and techs go out every morning at sunrise (which at the start is as early as 4AM!) and set up several mistnets in a wooded area near refuge headquarters. They check the nets every half hour and measure, weigh and band every bird caught in the nets. This is much different from my past bird tech gigs, where we only had one mistnet at a time and were looking for specific birds, letting the rest go. This is a lot more time-consuming. One tech brought back 10 birds during one sweep of the nets.The process is like clockwork--they are amazingly fast at getting birds processed and released. Several times a season, USFWS invites children from local schools to take a field trip to the site and watch the process. The kids are encouraged to participate by releasing the birds themselves. It's not easy taking a picture of a bird release, usually I hit the button a little too late! Some birds cooperated by not flying off right away. The last pic is of cameraman Zak releasing a bird-I missed the bird but love the look of joy on his face! This definitely took me back to my tech days and was a fun shoot!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This trip to Tetlin we stayed at the Dept. of Fish and Game refuge headquarters in Tok. They have nice cabins behind the offices, which were perfect for us as we wanted to be centrally located, as opposed to being deep in the refuge.

On Saturday, two hunters came by looking for help. They said they'd been out hunting and saw an eagle sitting by the side of the road near a ditch. At first they thought it was eating, as the wings were completely spread out, as if it were guarding a mouse. But something seemed off, so they approached it, and it was unable to fly away. They noticed some blood on one leg and surmised that it was either shot or hit by a car.
Luckily there is a bird rescue based in Tok, so they were able to pass it off to someone who could help without too much fanfare. I asked to see the eagle, and they took me to their car. There it was, nestled comfortably in the back amongst the wrenches and other random back of the car stuff. It seemed very alert, although the guys said it hadn't eaten any of the ground beef they'd given it. Zak pointed out that it probably wouldn't want to eat anything that didn't still have a pulse! Anyway, it was amazing to see this bird so close up! I hope it makes a full recovery. Speaking of cameraman Zak, he has a new blog post up featuring my pics, if you're interested! Click this. Oh, and some good news...Dateline NBC is doing a piece on Buddy the Hero Dog, and I was hired to produce it! Finally, Buddy's getting the attention he deserves!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Okay, now this is REALLY fall!

The refuge is in full fall glory right now. Here are a few pics from yesterday.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Fall is here!

Termination dust and yellow leaves can only mean one thing--my favorite season has arrived! In Anchorage the leaves are just starting to turn, but we drove out to Tetlin NWR yesterday for a quick shoot and fall is almost in full bloom out here. I'm happy to be out experiencing it, since it's such a short season. We'll be out at the refuge for the rest of the week, and then it's a wrap on this project after almost a year! The next step will be editing, and there is a LOT of footage to go through, as you can imagine.